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YARNLADY's avatar

What is the best way to foster creativity?

Asked by YARNLADY (39487 points ) December 30th, 2012

Playing with playdoh: Do I show them how to use it, or just open the jars and let them figure it out?

Most of the idea sites show the teacher teaching them how to roll ropes and flatten pancakes and hollow out cups.

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12 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Creativity requires “play” time that is free of judgment, as well as the development of a set of skills, and a structure. So you might start by doing as the idea sites show, but then you give an instruction such as, “see what you can do that has no straight lines.” Or see what you can do with as many different kinds of triangles as you can come up with. Then you give them freedom to play.

Of course, you don’t enforce the rule. It’s just a guide. If someone wants to do squares instead of triangles, or all straight lines instead of curvy ones, it’s ok. The idea is it gives them a challenge to figure out.

The challenge could be anything. Connect this table to that one. Connect this table to that one with rectangles. Whatever fits the moment. Show love. Show anger. Make a sculpture with no insides. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Just so long as they have something to think about while creating. Something that takes their mind off of what they are supposed to be doing (building with playdoh) and misdirects it to some other bogus instruction.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think just play along with them. Model (no pun intended) the different ways they can use the dough. They will pick it up from you and hopefully use the ideas you are using to be creative themselves.

Jeruba's avatar

In my opinion:

•  Provide materials and opportunity.
•  Encourage process and don’t worry about results.
•  Play with them, and also leave them free to play on their own.
•  Avoid making it feel like an obligation.

In your place I would show them some techniques but not tell them how to apply them beyond some basic principles. Most of the kids I’ve known love to have an adult teach them things, but they don’t want to be pushed and they don’t want to be expected to do things in only one “right” way.

If the children watch you make something and start to ask questions, it all comes about pretty naturally.

pleiades's avatar

How about starting with mimicking certain shapes, then statues and other structures.

Choose some photos off the internet.

citizenearth's avatar

How about watching cartoons? Cartoons are great outlets for creative people to express their creativity. Another way is to go to shops selling knick-knacks. You are bound to see many creatively made things.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

How to foster creativity:

(1) Purchase some huge, overpriced toy with all the bells and whistles.

(2) Remove the toy from its enormous box.

(3) Throw away the toy, and let your children play with the box. You’ll watch hour after hour of nonstop fun and creativity.

YARNLADY's avatar

@citizenearth @PaulSadieMartin Those are great ideas, but I am specifically asking about playdoh clay on this question.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@YARNLADY Sorry about that! I was so busy trying to be all clever, I missed the real point of your question.

Back in my own Play-Doh days, I had a very simple (no batteries required) accessory called a Play-Doh Fun Factory. It was a plastic press machine that extruded Play-Doh in various shapes. I don’t know if the toy’s still available, but I remember that I really enjoyed it and used it often.

Jeruba's avatar

What I forgot to mention is some simple tools, such as a table knife (one you won’t need back in the kitchen), a section of dowel or two (for rolling and stamping), and shaped items that you can use as cookie cutters and stamps or imprinters.

In playing with modeling clay my kids also used some actual or improvised sculpting tools that let them poke holes, carve features, and trim edges. We also used empty wooden thread spools and empty film canisters, but I bet you can’t find those around now.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I would second all thsle above. Overall, the best way to foster creativity is exposure to creativity. It tends to transcend media.

susanc's avatar

When you sit down to open up the play-doh containers you will find that the colors inside are pure and clear, because they haven’t been all mushed together by ignorant heedless toddlers yet, though they soon will be. Enjoy! because this is your only opportunity till you buy yourself some more play-doh. Your initial enjoyment (though short-lived) will force your children to purloin the beautiful clear-colored new play-doh so that they can be “creative” with it themselves. Walk away. You’ve done your job. Sorry about the tiny window of opportunity for your own creativity, aka enjoyment. Grownups don’t get any of that. It’s for children, who don’t deserve it.

mattbrowne's avatar

A change of scenery and physical exercise before the creativity session.

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